The number two is powerful. Not only does it signify Nina Sky's tag teaming force on the R&B plateau, it also signifies the culmination of their sophomore release, “Starting Today.” Since their global recognition in 2004 with the reggae-infused pop jam, "Move Ya Body," the duo has spent five years challenging their voices and learning more about themselves in life and in business. "Just because we weren't in the spotlight doesn't mean we weren't making moves,” Natalie explains. “These last five years were spent traveling, doing shows all over the world, writing and working with other artists. We've really had time to mature into women and master our craft. It shows lyrically and vocally on this album."
While five years have elapsed, “Starting Today” aims to keep Nina Sky listeners in tune with the duo's journey since their first album. It takes just one listen to their new album—a savvy mix of pop songs touched with soulful R&B, 80s-inspired beats and up-tempo drums—to understand why Polo Grounds/J Records signed the twin team. Songs such as “Beautiful People,” an electro-pop dance floor staple;” “The DJ Made Me Do It,” a track featuring Natalie’s soulful ranting and Nicole’s DJ scratching abilities; “Good Luck,” a light and airy tune reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper’s musical reign of the 80s, and the title track “Starting Today” which reflects Nicole and Natalie’s growth both personally and professionally, showcase Nina Sky’s fresh new sounds and stimulating vocals.
As Nicole and Natalie ready for a fresh beginning, their musical abilities never fail to resonate with audiences. "We aren't only singers; we write a lot of our music,” Natalie reveals. “Nicole plays guitar and deejays. We are very musical and try to show this while on stage. Our vibe isn't like your typical group! Because Nicole deejays, she's able to command the crowd and every once and a while, we'll bring the guitar out on stage to show our versatility." As a teen, Nicole mastered the turntables but relied on her guitar playing skills to support the lyrics she and Natalie wrote. Fast forward years later and the duo's songwriting capabilities are displayed in catchy party starting records to poignant ballads.
Noted producers on the album “Starting Today” include Ryan Leslie (“The Real”), Stereotypes (“Beautiful People”), Salaam Remi (“On Some Bullshit), Neo da Matrix (“Vacancy”), Bruno & Phil (“The DJ Made Me Do It,” “Starting Today”), songwriter Diane Warren (“I’m Not Gonna Be”) and more. "The album “Starting Today" is a new beginning,” Nicole explains. “When we originally recorded our second album, we titled it "The Musical" because we were in a different space mentally and emotionally. We had personal break-ups and realized some of the people we trusted with our careers didn't have our best interests in mind. After months of refocusing, we went into the studio with a new perspective and that’s when we wrote the song titled "Starting Today." We believe if you dwell on the past, you can never move forward. Our songs now are about putting past experiences to rest and approaching life with a positive outlook.”
“Starting Today” places Nina Sky on a new path, but their ride to recognition began before its creation in Astoria, Queens, where Puerto Rican twins Nicole and Natalie Albino grew up amongst salsa beats and freestyle anthems. The most prolific musical force the duo recalls came from that of their stepfather—a self-taught DJ who created a home enveloped in the sounds of Miles Davis, Madonna and Journey, among others. " We grew up in a household where music was always played. Our dad deejayed from sunrise to sunset, it's because of him that we learned to appreciate all genres of music and have always been open to experimenting with different sounds and vibes," says Nicole.
Nina Sky's ascent in the music business was supported by MTV VJ, HOT 97 jock and producer DJ Cipha Sounds, who met the two at 17 and immediately recognized their gift. "When we auditioned for Cipha, we didn't know what to expect. But he embraced our performance and soon after, asked us to hit the studio with him,” Natalie reflects. “At our first session he played us the Coolie dance riddim and, within 30 minutes of hearing it and vibing out, we'd written "Move Ya Body," continues Nicole. “We had no idea what would come of it but he kept saying the song was gonna be big. Same way he believed in us, we believed in him, and the song took off!." Cipha assisted the duo in signing with Eddie O'Loughlin and Next Plateau Entertainment/Universal Records. "Move Ya Body," off their self-titled first release, made Nina Sky a household name in 2004.
The “Nina Sky” album hit the industry with a brand of R&B that was unprecedented, coming from two Puerto Rican twin sisters from Queens. That same year, rapper N.O.R.E. called on Nina Sky for vocal assistance on "Oye Mi Canto," featuring Daddy Yankee, which became the first reggaeton record to hit mainstream radio and showcased the ladies bilingual talents. The duo was featured on The Alchemist's ode, "Hold You Down," featuring Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Illa Ghee, and on DJ Tony Touch’s "(Hey DJ) Play That Song." They also released two independent mixtapes, "Nina Sky The Mixtape" and the Latin-influenced "La Conexion", which produced the anthem, "Ladies Night," featuring Ivy Queen and Pitbull. In 2007, Nicole and Natalie were featured on DJ Envy & Brooklyn emcee Red Café's "Things You Do” and teamed up with Rick Ross for the street record “Flippin’ That.” A year later, the duo worked with The Alchemist yet again on “Key To The City" and vocally assisted Talib Kweli's "Hostile Gospel" alongside Joell Ortiz and Blu. To prep listeners for their sophomore return, the duo also released “Curtain Call” featuring Rick Ross, and the Salaam Remi-produced teaser “On Some Bullshit.”
Now, with “Starting Today” complete, Nina Sky welcomes tastemakers and fans to rejoice in their return. Their new single, "Beautiful People" and new label, Polo Grounds Music/J Records, is as close to a musical rebirth as the duo can get. An elaborate work of art, “Starting Today” showcases the growth and versatility that is Nina Sky.